North Korea's nuclear envoy flew into Beijing on Tuesday as his counterparts from China, the US, South Korea and Japan gathered to hammer out plans to restart talks on dismantling the reclusive nation's nuclear weapons program.
The arrival of North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan has heightened expectations he may meet US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, although no plans have been announced.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said a meeting between Hill and Kim is "certainly an open possibility."
"The issue for us is to make sure we are extremely well-planned and ready for the six-party talks, which we do anticipate will get going at some point very soon," Hill said when he arrived in the Chinese capital on Monday.
Officials have yet to determine an exact date for the six-nation disarmament negotiations, which also involve Russia.